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Israel Update 1.2.24

ISRAEL’S WAR AGAINST HAMAS

 

 

 

The number of Israeli troops suffering severe injuries in Gaza is twice as high as in the nation’s last major conflict the 2006 Second Lebanon War. A quarter of the 2,784 soldiers wounded since Oct. 7 have been severely injured, “compared to 12%” in the 2006 war.
In the current war, 557 soldiers have died, including those who were killed during the Oct. 7 attacks.
Most of the injuries sustained by IDF troops in Gaza are a result of explosive weapons, such as IEDs and rocket-launched grenades, which cause more damage.
Although soldiers are equipped with military-grade battle gear that protects the torso, their limbs and faces are left vulnerable to shrapnel released during explosions. At the same time, the IDF is losing fewer men to injuries. The fatality rate is 6.5-7%, compared to 13-15% in the 2006 war.(paywall) Report here

 

 

 

 

Israel has done more to prevent civilian casualties in Gaza than any other army in the history of war, John Spencer, Chair of Urban Warfare Studies at the Modern War Institute at West Point and a retired U.S. military officer, wrote on Tuesday.
Spencer provided multiple examples of precautions that the IDF takes that other armies do not, at least not to the same extent, or even at all.
He noted that the IDF will “provide [a] warning and evacuate urban areas/cities before the full combined air and ground attack begins. While the tactic does alert the enemy defender and provide them the military advantage to prepare further, it is one of the best ways to prevent civilian casualties. Report here

 

 

 

 

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Tuesday: “If Hamas actually cared about the needs of the Palestinians in Gaza, they would end this conflict today. This is a conflict Hamas set in motion on October 7… And so, the entire international community should call on Hamas to lay down its arms, to stop using civilians as human shields, and to release every single hostage.”  Report here

 

 

 

 

On Monday, after weeks of relative quiet, 11 rockets were fired at central Israel from southern Khan Yunis in Gaza, 6 of which were intercepted. A car in Rishon Lezion was hit by rocket debris. Report here

 

 

 

The IDF will ramp up its military presence in northern Gaza to counter attempts by Hamas to re-establish itself in the area. It is estimated that 2,000 Hamas terrorists remain there, with rockets on Sunday being fired at Ashkelon from the north for the first time in over a month. Report here

 

 

 

 

An AP analysis of videos and photos from three months of combat in Gaza shows that Hamas has amassed an arsenal of weapons from around the world with the majority of Russian, Chinese or Iranian origin, but North Korean weapons and those produced in former Warsaw Pact countries are also present.Report here

 

THE NORTHERN FRONT

 

 

 

Hizbullah rocket launches were detected towards Moshavs Yiftah and Ya’ara, as well as Kibbutz Hanita in northern Israel. The IDF attacked the sources of the fire in Lebanon. An anti-tank missile was fired at Metula, where a house caught fire. Rockets were fired toward Shlomi but fell within Lebanon.Report here

 

 

 

The Defence Ministry announced that 427 houses in northern Israel have suffered structural damage from Hizbullah rockets and anti-tank missiles since October. Some 80 of the houses have experienced direct hits and much greater damage.  Three communities hit hardest were Metulla, Shlomi, and Manara. Another six communities have significant damage. Report here

 

 

 

 

CHRISTIAN SUPPORT

 

 

 

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey of Clifton said “Israel is under threat on a level that seems equal to anything they have experienced after 1948. Christian people must stand with Israel at this time. To do otherwise would be a rejection of our faith and democracy,” during the recent European Coalition for Israel’s Emergency Summit on Global Antisemitism in Geneva.  Report here

 

 

 

US Christian organization Passages has donated $500,000 to two southern Israel communities Netiv HaAsara and Kfar Aza destroyed in the Hamas massacre on October 7, delivering the funds during a solidarity mission. Article here

 

 

 

COUNTER-TERRORISM

 

 

 

Israeli counterterrorism forces foiled an Oct. 7-inspired terror attack early Tuesday, targeting a 3-man Palestinian cell hiding and planning the attack from the Ibn Sina hospital in Jenin in the West Bank Report here

 

 

 

TERROR ATTACK IN HAIFA

 

 

 

A soldier was seriously wounded in a car ramming attack near the Navy’s training base in Haifa. After the driver ran over the soldier, he got out of the car, armed with an axe, and started running toward the entrance to the base. before being shot. Report here

 

 

INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE (ICJ)

 

 

 

Extract from official Israeli response: The charge of genocide levelled against Israel at the ICJ is false and outrageous. It constitutes a shameful exploitation of the Genocide Convention that is not only wholly unfounded in fact and law,but is morally repugnant.
As the court recognized, on October 7, Hamas and other terrorist groups committed unspeakable atrocities against Israel and its citizens. Like every country, Israel has an inherent and inalienable right to defend itself against the terrorist onslaught it still faces. The vile attempt by South Africa to deny Israel this fundamental right was justly rejected.
Israel welcomes the court’s clear demand for the immediate and unconditional release of all the hostages held in Gaza. Full statement here

 

 

 

The International Court of Justice on Friday declined a plea to order Israel to cease military operations in Gaza following Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attacks, but required Israel to enable humanitarian aid to the civilian population and take every measure to prevent destruction of its Palestinian community.(paywall) Report here

 

 

 

Ugandan Julia Sebutinde was the only judge on the 17-member ICJ panel to vote against all six measures adopted by the court and she was also one of only two judges to oppose the court’s assertion that some Israeli actions in the war against Hamas may violate the Genocide Convention. The other was Israeli Justice Aharon Barak. However Uganda has distanced itself from the judge’s dissenting opinion. Report here.

 

 

 

and see Comment & Opinion below

 

 

 

The UNITED NATIONS RELIEF and WORKS AGENCY FOR PALESTINE REFUGEES (UNWRA)

 

 

A dossier compiled by Israel details claims against a dozen UNRWA employees who played a role in the Hamas attacks against Israel on Oct. 7 or in their aftermath.
Israeli intelligence officers had established the movements of six of the men inside Israel on Oct. 7 based on their phones. Others had been monitored while making phone calls inside Gaza during which they discussed their involvement in the Hamas attack. Three others got text messages ordering them to report to muster points on Oct. 7, and one was told to bring rocket-propelled grenades stored at his home. Israel described 10 of the employees as members of Hamas, and another was affiliated with Islamic Jihad.
Seven were teachers at UNRWA schools. A school counsellor from Khan Yunis worked with his son to abduct a woman from Israel. A social worker helped to bring the body of a dead Israeli soldier to Gaza, as well as distributing ammunition and coordinating vehicles on the day of the attack. (paywall) Report here

 

 

 

Israeli government spokesperson Mark Regev said there was a structural relationship between UNRWA and Hamas and not just a matter of a few bad apples. The 12 names provided by military intelligence were just the “tip of the iceberg,” he said. Report here

 

 

 

Several countries have now suspended funds to UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, in the wake of allegations that 12 of its staff members participated in the Hamas-led Oct. 7 massacre. Report here

 

 

 

Around 10% of UNRWA’s 12,000 employees in Gaza have links to Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and 49% have close relatives who belong to the Islamist militant groups  according to Israeli intelligence estimates shared with the U.S. Since Oct. 7, Hamas has stolen more than $1 million worth of UNRWA supplies, including fuel and trucks, according to the intelligence report. Hamas operatives are deeply enmeshed within the UNRWA aid-delivery enterprise and coordinate transfers for the organization. (paywall) Report here

 

 

 

The U.S. needs to see “fundamental changes” at UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, before it resumes funding… the EU on Monday demanded an “urgent” audit of the UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA and said it is reviewing funding.Report hereand here

 

 

 

 

At the (US)  House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing Tuesday on “UNRWA Exposed: Examining the Agency’s Mission and Failures.” Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) said, “UNRWA is committing wholesale child abuse against Palestinian youth. It’s teaching them to hate every single day.” Report here

 

 

and see Comment & Opinion below

 

 

 

AID FOR GAZA

 

 

 

 Hamas is hijacking over half the aid trucks entering Gaza, with Israel Security Agency chief Ronen Bar putting the figure at 60%. Groups of activists, including some families of hostages being held by Hamas in Gaza, have been holding daily protests at the Kerem Shalom crossing, demanding that no aid be allowed to enter Gaza via Israel as long as the hostages remain in captivity. Report here

 

 

 

Israel has devised a plan, still under consideration, that would see the army and international bodies hand out humanitarian aid directly to Gazans, preventing its diversion by Hamas. Report here

 

 

 

SOUTH AFRICA

 

 

Warren Goldstein, South Africa’s chief rabbi, has issued a stern warning to banks in the country who may be facilitating payments to Hamas and affiliated organizations. Article here    Video here (14 mins) 

(Video includes allegations of: business ties between the ANC & Iran approx. 8 min; partnership of S.A. Telecoms company MTN with IRGC approx. 8 min 40 sec; S.A. Banks providing funding platforms for Hamas 9 min 30 sec.)

 

 

 

INDIA

 

 

Thousands of Indian men, mostly skilled construction workers and labourers, recently flocked to the federal government’s screening centre in Lucknow for jobs in Israel.  A week-long recruitment drive began on Jan. 23, with a 15-member Israeli team overseeing the process and expecting to fill over 5,000 positions for masons, carpenters and other construction workers. (paywall) Article here

 

 

 

SPORT

 

Israeli fencer Yuval Freilich won the gold medal at the Epee Grand Prix held in Doha, Qatar. Video here includes Hatikva

 

 

The Israel Under-20 National Team won the gold medal at the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division III Group A tournament in Bulgaria, finishing undefeated at 5-0 with concluding victories over Turkey and Mexico. They are now promoted to Division II Group B. The IIHF’s decision to bar the team from participating had been rescinded. Ice Hockey Federation of Israel CEO Mikhael Horowitz said “Our winning first place made me doubly happy in view of the fact that they didn’t want us here” Report here

 

 

Israeli tennis player Guy Sasson was runner-up in the Australian Open Quad Wheelchair Singles. Part of his acceptance speech at 4 mins 10 secs   in this video

 

 

Israeli driver Ariel Levi won Round 2 of the Porsche Sprint Challenge Southern Europe Sport Division.  Video here  4’30’’ includes Hatikva

 

Also from Follow team Israel:

 

Skiier Viktor Polinkovsky  won the FIS Masters World Cup event (age category 60-64) in Slovenia.

 

Israel’s kickboxers did well at the recent  WAKO European kickboxing Athens Challenge Yulia Sachkov and  Deniz Serebyanikov won gold while12 year old Karolina Chorny won the Kick Light European Championship.

 

 

COMMENT & OPINION

 

 

1.REACTION TO ICJ PRELIMINARY RULING

 

 

David Horovitz: the court’s decision was awful…practically and morally. The court determined that South Africa’s claim of genocide was plausible. Making plain that it was not finished with Israel and the interim stage of the claim of genocide against it, the court also required Israel to report back within a month on its progress in implementing the judges’ demands that it “take all measures within its power” to prevent the killing or injuring of Gazans… The overwhelming majority on the court essentially backed a monstrous aggressor, protecting a barbaric, death-cult Islamic government, indifferent to the well-being of the populations it governs, with genocidal ambitions against the state next door. And its judges are not done yet.Full article here

 

 

 

Dr. Matan Gutman: In essence, the ICJ called on Israel to adhere to international law and prevent actions that could be contrary to the Genocide Convention – actions that Israel currently already takes. None of the ICJ’s 17 judges granted South Africa’s request for an order to stop the fighting in Gaza.
Furthermore, no ICJ judge mandated that Israel should minimize its military operations or allow some of Gaza’s population to return to their homes, and no operative orders were given regarding the supply of a specific amount of humanitarian aid to Gaza. South Africa’s cynical attempt to use the Genocide Convention against Israel and force an immediate cease-fire has failed.Full article here

 

 

 

 

Alan Dershowitz:The ICJ did the right thing by refusing to enjoin Israel from conducting its military operation against Hamas. But the court required Israel it to report back in a month on its efforts to prevent its soldiers from committing genocide.
But Israel’s soldiers were not committing genocide. They were fighting in the same way that the U.S. and Britain fought urban warfare against terrorist groups. Israeli soldiers do not need to be lectured about not doing something they would never do.
A nation bent on genocide does not put its soldiers at risk by warning the other side about its intended military targets. Nor does it provide humanitarian corridors for the provision of food, medicine and other necessities. There have been fewer civilian deaths in Gaza, and a lower ratio of civilian to combatant causalities, than in any modern war in history. Article here

 

 

 

D.Tel editorial:…the ICJ failed to throw out an absurd case brought by South Africa accusing Israel of “genocide.”…The 1948 Genocide Convention identifies “genocide” as the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” Israel’s stated intention is only to destroy the Hamas terrorist group in Gaza.   (paywall) Editorial here

 

 

 

Raymond Wacks: It is extraordinary that the judges fail to acknowledge the critical fact that Israel is fighting an enemy that is demonstrably committed to the Jewish state’s annihilation. They surprisingly overlooked the terrible reality that Israel’s cold-blooded foe hides its fighters, weapons, and hostages in a subterranean city, and operates among civilians in schools, mosques, and hospitals. It also continues to fire rockets into Israel. Article here

 

 

 

Jake Wallis Simons: While the ICJ resisted the urge to demand that Israel lay down its arms and bare its neck for the slaughter, it could not help but deliver a scolding. Israel goes to greater lengths to avoid civilian casualties than any other nation.
Take the leaflets warning people to leave the combat zone in advance of an attack or the strikes aborted when innocents are spotted in the target zone. Did the RAF do the same when we pounded Iraq, Afghanistan or the Houthis in Yemen? Did the Americans? Israel has managed to maintain a combatant-to-civilian ratio of around 1:2, even on a battlefield designed to put civilians in harm’s way (the global average is 1:9).
Will the ICJ now address Russia’s invasion of Ukraine or Turkey’s massacre of the Kurds? It’s not the killing that’s the problem. It’s the Jewishness of the finger on the trigger. (paywall)  Article here

 

 

2.UNWRA

 

 

Brendan O’Neill: UNRWA oversees vast swathes of social and educational life in Gaza, as well as providing health and welfare.
Yet the illusion that UNRWA is a good, neutral body that just happens to have a few bad actors in its ranks is dangerously simple-minded.
In truth, UNRWA has helped to institutionalize a Palestinian politics of grievance, increase both local and global hatred for Israel, and provide spaces in which Gazan Islamists have been able to indoctrinate a new generation with their Jew-hate that masquerades as “Palestinian liberation.”
Liberating Gaza from UNRWA ought to be at least a medium-term goal of everyone who cares about Israelis and Palestinians. Article here

 

 

 

Wall St Journal Editorial: the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued a preliminary ruling in South Africa’s case against Israel that managed to be both outrageous and meaningless. At the same time, its special forever-refugee agency for the Palestinians, UNRWA, had to fire staff accused of involvement in Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre.
UNRWA has kept Palestinians in permanent refugee camps, which have become terrorist-incubators with third- and fourth-generation refugees who are educated to expect a victorious return to take over Israel. The UN agency for all other refugees helps them build new lives. UNRWA alone has a mandate to perpetuate refugee status that freezes a conflict in place… UNRWA as it currently works doesn’t deserve U.S. support (paywall) Editorial here

 

 

Bret Stephens:  The UN has two agencies dedicated to the plight of refugees. One, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, is responsible for nearly all the world’s 30 million refugees, with a mandate to help them resettle in third countries if they can’t go home. The other is UNRWA. No other group except for Palestinians gets its own permanent agency.

Palestinians should be citizens of the countries in which they live – just as some two million Arabs are in Israel. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict can’t be solved so long as millions of Palestinians have been turned into the world’s only permanent refugees. By doing that, UNRWA makes itself an obstacle to peace. (paywall)Article here

 

 

 

OTHER COMMENT & OPINION

 

 

Ari Zivotofsky explains the meaninglessness of comparing casualty counts and why the trend of tallying casualties is the wrong approach… Israel aims at terrorists but thanks to Hamas there are sometimes collateral civilian casualties; while Hamas aims at civilian centres but thanks to great efforts by Israel there are fewer casualties. Article here